Cooper Elementary School – Food webs with 4th graders

Last Friday, EcoReach had the wonderful opportunity to visit Cooper Elementary School in Gwinnett County and work with their 4th graders!

EcoReach was asked by Cooper Elementary to provide a supplementary activity to their 4th grade unit on the role of organisms and the flow of energy through an ecosystem. We brought an activity on food chains and food webs, found here, and used a ball of yarn to demonstrate the flow of energy.

Each 4th grade class was teamed up with an EcoReach member. The students all received a picture of either a type of producer, consumer, or decomposer, and one lucky student received a picture of a sun. The sun stood in the middle of the classroom while the rest of the students stood in a circle. The sun was then tasked to throw the ball of yarn to an organism that receives energy directly from the sun. Can you name this type of organism? Can you give any examples of a species? *Hint* Next, the student with the ball of yarn was tasked to then throw it to another organism that would use its energy. Can you name this type of organism? Can you give any examples of a species? *Hint*

After the yarn went from the sun all the way to a decomposer, the yarn was cut, and we had a single food chain! We continued making food chains until we had a large food web! Do you know the difference between a food chain and a food web? The students at Cooper Elementary sure did! *Hint* And finally, each class discussed what would happen if we lost all of the top consumers from the ecosystem. Would this affect the producers? Or what if all of the primary producers went extinct? Would this ecosystem have any consumers? And how about the sun? Would we have any organisms without the sun?

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EcoReach had such an enjoyable time at Cooper Elementary, and we could not have done it without the gracious help of their STEM coordinator, James (pictured in the center), or without the wonderful teachers. Thank you! We can’t wait to come back!

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